A few scattered thoughts about the winter sports season as we pass the midway point:
It's been a while since they've had so much to cheer about at boys basketball games in Uniontown.
Francis Scott Key (pick one) stunned, shocked, startled, surprised or jolted Brunswick of Frederick County, 71-60, in overtime on Friday. The Railroaders had been the class of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League in the early going, and the loss to Key was their first in league play.
Key already has won as many games as in the previous three seasons, and, at 6-5, has as many wins now as in anyseason since 1985-1986, when it went 10-12.
One of the reasons for the turnaround is the play of Scott Kreit, who didn't even figure to be one of the team's top players when the season began.
All he's done is lead the team in scoring (12.4 points per game, thirdbest in the county), haul in 6.4 rebounds per game (tied for third best) and pick up 2.2 steals per contest (third best).
Dave Layman, meanwhile, is handing out assists faster than just about anyone else in the county (4.7 per game) and is chipping in with a couple of steals in each contest.
Inside, Brent Garber is the county's leading rebounder, with an average of 9.6 per game, and he's among the leaders in blocked shots.
Key is denied a chance of winning a county title, even though it will finish the county season undefeated in two games against North Carroll. Earl Hersh, the supervisor of athletics for the county, has ruled a team must play at least three county games to be eligible for the title.
Key, of course, has only two free dates for county games because of its 18-game Monocacy Valley Athletic League schedule.
That wouldn't have mattered much in recent years, but Key likely would have had a legitimate shot at the county crown this year. I hope somebody can come up with away for Key to play a county schedule. Until then, the term "county"title will ring a little hollow in some sports.
* Liberty is doing in girls basketball what Key is doing on the boys side.
The Lions were one of the state's best teams in the early 1980s, but the squad had fallen on hard times the last few years.
But first-year coach Tom Delise has molded a winner.
Unlike Key's boys, the Lions are blessed with a dominating player to build around. Center Kelly Foreman averages 16 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game.
She's gotten offensive help from frontcourt mate Lisa Pauley (7.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game). Guard Cindy Leeds averages 5.1 steals (tops in the county) and more than two assists per game.
* We've started running the county's most comprehensive individual statistics for winter sports.
Along with scoring leaders, we've added rebounding, assist, steal and blocked shot leaders for boys and girls basketball. In wrestling, we'relisting the top records in each weight class, plus the fastest pins and the most pins.
Let us know if you enjoy the improved statistics, which appear in Wednesday's Scholastic standings section. Also, please call if you see any omissions or mistakes.
Call 857-0550, 876-8771 or (800) 829-8000, Ext. 6595.
* The Western Maryland men have enjoyed a nice turnaround, too. The Green Terrors also have topped last year's win total, and a hot streak now would put theteam in the thick of the Middle Atlantic Conference playoff hunt.
The top two teams in each section advance to the playoffs, andthe Terrors have three straight section contests starting tonight atDickinson in Carlisle, Pa.
Franklin & Marshall at 5-1 is incharge in the section, but Dickinson and Muhlenberg are tied for second at 3-2. Lebanon Valley and Western Maryland are tied for fourth at 2-3, and Gettysburg is right behind at 2-4.
A three-game winning streak, and the Terrors at least would be tied for second in the section.
That's not likely, especially with two road games (the MAC Southwest is traditionally a difficult loop in which to win away games). But this seems to be the year of storybook seasons in county basketball, so anything's possible.